B Dec 17, 2016
D Feb 4, 2018
Ollie was considered critical when first rescued, on July 10, 2017 from Merry Beach Caravan Park. His mother had abandoned him (most likely due to poor conditions), and when found, he weighed just 1kg (should have been 1.6kg). He was in appalling condition – emaciated, dehydrated, dirty, smelly, cold, stressed, glazed eyes. His rescuer considered euthanasia, due to his condition. He had no thymus gland showing whatsoever, which suggests his mother was also in poor health and failed to pass on good immunity to him.
But survive he did, and thrived he did. For six weeks, Oliver was the only small joey in care, arriving at the very beginning of the high-season. He was given his name after Oliver Twist – please sir, may I have some more? Ollie just loved his milk, and always looked bitterly upset and disappointed when he finished. A loved joey by all, including those who got to know is personality online. All the joeys loved bossy Ollie, there’s a reason the mob was named after him.
Perhaps due to the amount of time Ollie was here on his own and the bonding created in that time between Ollie and Rae, or perhaps due to his super unique personality, Ollie was firmly Rae’s favourite joey in the O-Mob. We love every single joey here, and they’re all different, but every so often, one steals a bigger chunk of your heart than they should, and Ollie did that to Rae. They had a very special bond, so much so that we believe Ollie held out until he saw Rae in the morning before he passed away. He lay in a pouch against her chest for the next hour getting face pats and listening to her sing to him: Ollie, Ollie, Ollie it’s my Ollie, Ollie, Ollie in a unique song he knows belongs to him. Watching and holding Ollie as he died, was the hardest thing Rae ever had to do, but she knew it was so very important that he remembered how much he was loved before he passed.
Ollie had been sick for a few weeks. Originally presenting his Coccidiosis symptoms, his faeces showed an over burden of coccidia, thus he was treated accordingly. He improved and commenced drinking his bottles and then went backwards again. Further investigation into symptoms suggested a blood parasite, so he was treated for a type of hook worm. Again, Ollie showed improvement before failing in health once more.
We investigated a disease called Babesia several times, and oh if we could wind the clock back… Babesia was not known to exist in this region, but some symptoms matched (others did not). Ollie’s death was such a difficult one, that we chose not to request a necropsy – something we now regret.
Several weeks earlier, a spate of wild joey deaths not far from here, encouraged Rae to request the last rescue have a full necropsy done. Wildlife Health Australia and Sydney Uni were involved, along with our local vet Dr Sean Harrison at Casey’s Beach.
The results came back just a few days after Ollie’s death – Babesiosis. Did Ollie die from Babesiosis too? One symptom that was inconsistent to previous known cases, was that Ollie’s eyes were bulging. However, just recently, a paper was discovered confirming that two joeys died 30mins south of here with confirmed Babesiosis several years earlier – both had presented with bulging eyes.
Along with all other research conducted thus far, we have concluded that Ollie did die from Babesiosis, and whilst that knowledge won’t bring him back, the learning we’ve done on this disease will help us prevent joey deaths in future.
Thank you to Brooke and Bart, who sponsored Ollie from the moment his first photo appeared on our social media pages. He was a loved little vampire joey who slept upside down in his pouch and made people laugh with his crazy antics. Our hearts bleed for Ollie, who is very sorely missed indeed.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE TODAY
Your contribution will help rescue, rehabilitate and release more orphaned and injured native wildlife in need.